Contributed by Jeff Risch
Although some states do not have prevailing wage laws, most do. Additionally, many contractors throughout the United States have come across the federal prevailing law by way of Davis-Bacon and its related laws (aka Davis-Bacon and Related Acts – DBRAs). DBRAs apply to contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works. Davis-Bacon applies to contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal or District of Columbia contracts. Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions apply to the “Related Acts,” under which federal agencies assist construction projects through grants, loans, loan guarantees and insurance (i.e. HUD). Davis-Bacon contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. Davis-Bacon directs the U.S. Department of Labor to determine such locally prevailing wage rates. Under state law, prevailing wage requirements (including the administration and enforcement of such requirements) are specific and unique to each state.
In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) revised and updated a concise summary of the general applicability and thresholds for state prevailing wage law purposes in all jurisdictions that continue to have such laws on the books (see link: http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/dollar.htm). For any employer performing prevailing wage work on a state or federal level, intimate knowledge and familiarity with applicable prevailing wage laws is critical.